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NC Community Colleges Celebrate Community College Month

Edgecombe Community College is joining the month-long national celebration of Community College Month in April.

Community College Month highlights the hard work and achievement taking place daily on community college campuses. In North Carolina, more than 500,000 students are enrolled at community colleges, institutions that serve a diverse student population and put educational and career goals within reach.

“The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) is key to the recovery and growth of the state’s economy,” says Thomas Stith, president of the NCCCS. “We are very pleased to participate in this national awareness month to showcase North Carolina’s crown jewel – the Community College System.”

A recent report delivered to the State Board revealed that the NCCCS contributes about $19.3 billion to the state’s economy each year. Expressed in terms of jobs, the colleges’ impact supports 319,763 jobs.

The study indicates that the state’s unified system of 58 community colleges generate nearly double the revenue from what they take in from taxpayers. For every dollar the state invests, taxpayers see a return of $1.90 in added tax revenues and public sector savings.

In addition, NC community college students enjoy an average rate of return on their college investment of 22.3%.

“In spite of the pandemic, Edgecombe and other community colleges found ways to respond, adapt, and even excel in the face of challenges and adversity,” notes ECC President Dr. Greg McLeod. “Our colleges’ success also is a reflection of the steadfast support of our communities. The collective support we receive enables us to fulfill our mission.”

Economic development through corporate partnerships is critical to sustaining a vibrant economy. North Carolina’s community colleges are known for their innovative programs for education, training, and support leading to wage-earning jobs. The NCCCS leverages its corporate partnerships by strengthening programs like ApprenticeshipNC, BioNetwork, Customized Training, and Small Business Center Network.

The Customized Training program is a key economic driver as the state’s 58 community colleges work with companies relocating or expanding in North Carolina to deliver a skilled workforce to meet the needs of the market. Partnerships include Apple, Amazon, Boom Supersonic, Lilly, Red Hat, Toyota, and VinFast.

In North Carolina, community colleges are making a comeback from the pandemic. Enrollment climbed nearly 2 percent across North Carolina’s community colleges in the fall of 2021. The growth was consistent with 33 of 58 community colleges reporting increases. Enrollment boomed in basic skills education, advancing 40 percent. Short-term workforce education surged, jumping 22 percent.